How have you been using First Due to prepare for upcoming community events in Carmel?
Every year the City of Carmel puts on a fireworks display for the 4th of July. Last year, due to COVID, the City decided to have three different firework locations. This turned out to be a big hit, so the city has decided to continue with the multiple site model moving forward. For 2021 two of the firework sites will be operating on the 4th, and one on the 5th to help celebrate the end of our yearly festival, Carmel Fest. For as long as I can remember, we have been lighting the fireworks off in the downtown area, but as the city continues to grow we are facing new challenges every year. Finding a safe shoot site for our central location is becoming increasingly more difficult with the City’s rapid growth and redevelopment. This makes the pre-planning of these events critical to the safety of our community and the fire service personnel who will be responding. The pre-planning of the fireworks site allows Carmel Fire Department Personnel to evaluate what resources will be needed and where they will be allocated during the fireworks shoot. Having the detailed shoot sites prepared prior to the event has been extremely beneficial when planning the events and assuring Indiana Fire Code compliance. The use of First Due’s pre-planning program tools has made this process extremely efficient and easy. It is not only a great tool for planning the event, but its availability to responding crews through the responder app is proving to be invaluable.
Can you dive deeper into the actual pre-plan and what tools you used to create it?
Yes, the tools used to create the fireworks preplan are as follows:
- Draw and Measure Tool: The draw and measure tool is the basis for the fireworks pre-plan diagram. The use of this tool allows us to determine the fallout zone radius as required by NFPA 1123. We can then determine what buildings must be vacated, where spectators parking can be allowed and what areas we need to restrict spectators from entering. This information is vital to ensuring a safe shoot for our community. We also use this tool to show the “line of sight” from the fireworks launch site to the area of viewing. In order to ensure safety for our citizens, the spectator viewing areas are placed at a safe distance outside the fallout zone but as close as possible for the best viewing experience of the show. Using the Draw and Measure tool allows us to see exactly what the line of sight will be for the show and any potential obstacles. This also allows us to see exactly how far away our viewers will be for the launch site. This information has not only been great for us as a local fire official but the fireworks company as well. By knowing the distance from the launch site to the spectator area the Fireworks contractor can better inform us on what size shells to use for the show or if the area we have chosen we be a challenge to see from the spectator area.
- Circle Icon Tool: The use of this tool makes it quick and easy to outline the fall out zone and show what structures will be affected by the fallout zone. This also is a great aide in showing our personnel where we need them to stage the equipment.
- Annotation Tool: In order to show our people where their assignment will be for the fireworks detail we used the annotation tool. This could also be done using the First Due Icons, however, our drawings do not show them at this time. By using the annotation tool we are able to visually see where are personnel need to be positioned during the show. This information can also be seen be arriving crews and allows us to allocate resources as needed during an emergency event. Another great advantage to the First Due program is that we are able to share this information with mutual aid companies that may be responding to assist in our area. I am also able to send this information on to our other city departments in order to request resources needed for the event.
Some of the other features you will see in our Fireworks pre-plan include the labeling of the following:
- Firework Launching Banks: We like to draw the launching banks themselves. This provides a visual location for our crews of the actual launch banks. By knowing their exact location and orientation our Firefighters are able to respond quickly and effectively.
- Fences/Barricades: By labeling these areas we were able to send a detailed drawing to our other city departments requesting fences be placed in strategic areas to aid in securing the launch site and fallout zone. Having the visual aid to direct exactly where we would like these items placed has helped to eliminated confusion and miss communication.
- Restricted Access Boundaries: By having access to First Due’s satellite view of the site it has allowed us to identify potential areas of concern. We are then able to label these areas using the line tool and deploy resources as needed to assist with the remediation of these concerns.
When creating this pre-plan, we used several tools we learned in our First Due trainings. The measurement tool and annotation tools were the biggest. Using the annotation tool allowed us to go in and label specific things, for example rather than just FDC, I could label FDC East, so the crews know which hookup to use instead of guessing. We have noticed a huge difference on this specific pre-plan, but also in our everyday response, that taking the extra few steps and seconds to go in and specifically label things we will need really does cut time down on each call. We have been able to edit, update, and make changes as things throughout the city and this event change. This helps us stay prepared and also allows us to work well with everyone in charge. I will send this specific pre-plan out to our police department, street department, parks department, and city officials, so that they know our plan, we know their plan, and we can all work together to make sure this event goes smoothly and safely.
How has preparing for this event helped you use First Due for other special events or circumstances in Carmel?
The City of Carmel puts on several events throughout the year and with its growth and development, pre-planning before the events is crucial. With several events happening throughout the year it is imperative to have a plan in place to ensure a safe and effective response to these events. As several of these events occur at the same address point within our district, the First Due Pre-plan program has allowed us to add several pre-plan layers to a single address point. This has proven to be extremely beneficial to the response of our front line companies. The ability to turn on a layer for a set time or duration of an event and then be removed upon its completion is extremely beneficial. By pre-planning each event and labeling specific hazards we can be better prepared for an emergency situation. This also allows us to edit these events each year as they may change and not have to recreate the wheel each time we have the same event. This saves an immense amount of time and resources.
Another benefit is when dealing with sudden or unexpected changes within our response area. Just the other day we had an issue come up where a contractor was doing work and had to close down an access road unexpectedly. We were able to log into First Due and rapidly come up with an alternative route. The new route was then attached to the address points that were affected and accessible by all responding units. Not only were we able to show the new access route, but the responder map was able to visually show a primary and secondary route need to access the restricted area. This layer was in place for the duration of the work and once completed was removed so crews could see the “normal” access route.
Our latest implementation of the First Due Pre-planning tools has assisted us with planning and organizing our own Fire Department Events. Within the next few days we will be conducting a kid’s firefighter camp. We were able to create a diagram of the site and where each station of the camp would be with labels showing what each station is. I have found that The First Due Pre-planning is not only versatile in its application but simple to use.
Have you used First Due to pre-plan specific buildings in Carmel?
Yes, the one that comes to mind is our high school. The high school is one of the largest buildings in our district and has several different sprinkler zones. We have created a detailed pre-plan with the different sprinkler zones identified with their own distinct color. In addition, we have a color-coded line going from each zone to the corresponding PIV and FDC. This provides our Firefighters with a visual aid and shows them the exact location of the FDC and PIV and what zones of the structure they are supplying. This is something that’s really important for us on these larger buildings because with all of these different sprinkler systems, it gets confusing for our Firefighters on which FDC they need to hook up to. We’ve annotated this pre-plan so that the color codes reside on the ground map, so no matter when our crews get dispatched to this location they will automatically see this version of the sprinkler zones. This takes away a lot of confusion, and confusion in this situation wastes time, so the fact that our crews have real time access to this information makes a huge difference in response.
How has First Due helped with Fire Prevention in Carmel?
To prepare for these big events, we put together incident action plans. The Fire Department, Police Department, Street Department, and Carmel Fest Event Department will have one. First Due makes it so much easier to work with these other departments because I can just email them our pre-plan for the specific event. Once I emailed it to the different departments, they asked if I could overlay a few things from their plans, which is great because a lot of our plan will be working in conjunction with their plan. It makes it so easy for all of us to work together and all be on the same page well before the event starts.
The other part to Fire Prevention is with Community Connect. We are excited to introduce Community Connect to our commercial building contacts. Having one central place they can help us manage who to call in an emergency without the repeated manual updates will be a huge asset to operations in our department.
There is a lot we can do with both First Due and Community Connect, and we are excited to continue learning on how to do all of that. We have had a positive experience already – and we are just getting started.